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Italy mourns football legend Gigi Riva

Italy's all-time top goalscorer dies aged 79.

Italian president Sergio Mattarella has led tributes to Gigi Riva, Italy's record goalscorer in international matches, who died aged 79 on Monday.

“Many Italians, myself included, learn of the unexpected news of Gigi Riva's death with genuine sorrow" - Mattarella said in a statement - "His sporting successes, his very serious character, the dignity of his behaviour in all circumstances have earned him the affection of millions of Italians even among those who did not follow football."

Italian premier Giorgia Meloni also paid tribute to Riva, whose record of 35 goals for Italy remains unrivalled, hailing him as "a great athlete who marked the history of football and our national team".

Riva, who died after suffering a heart attack on Sunday, gained fame as a centre-forward with Cagliari where his impressive scoring record earned him the nickname Rombo di Tuono (Roar of Thunder).

Riva spent most of his career playing for the Sardinian club whose first and only Serie A title he helped to win in 1970.

However it was at international level that he became most famous, scoring a record 35 goals for the Azzurri in just 42 official appearances between 1965 and 1974.

He helped to secure the Euro 1968 title for Italy, scoring in the final as they beat Yugoslavia 2-0.

Riva also scored three times in the 1970 World Cup, helping Italy make it to the final in which they were beaten 4-1 by Brazil.

"Italian football is in mourning because a genuine national monument has left us today," said Gabriele Gravina, president of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC).

There will be a minute's silence in honour of Riva before soccer matches across Italy in the coming days, the FIGC said.

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Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia